Friday’s meeting at East Hampton Town Hall was so secretive that “it was like El Chapo was applying for a wetland variance,” as one observer put it.
Well, no. It was Ørsted/Eversource Energy, formerly Deepwater Wind, amid a legal maneuver only concerned parties were privy to, which means, given town hall’s propensity for keeping a secret, that even the janitors knew more about what was going on than most of the participants at the November 8 affair.
Cate Rogers, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, shooed members of the press away. There was no legal notice printed about the hearing.
During an Article 7 application process before the New York State Public Service Commission, the companies requested a settlement hearing, said to be a good-faith effort to move the application along. Deepwater Wind had said for years it expects the wind turbines to be operational by 2022. Instead, it appears caught in a maze of federal and state review.
A similar meeting scheduled two weeks ago in Albany was canceled after local politicians complained about the location. Friday, Ørsted/Eversource reiterated the desire to bring a cable from the South Fork Wind Farm that is to be built 35 miles offshore of Montauk onto a Wainscott beach. The original plan was to run an underground cable to the PSEG/Long Island Power Authority facility off Cove Hollow Road in Wainscott. Neither Ørsted/Eversource nor representatives from the utilities said another substation is planned for that location, though internal LIPA documents indicate as much.
At the meeting, the first of four planned to try and iron out the vast differences that has made South Fork Wind a hot potato, Wainscott residents voiced opposition to the cable brought ashore on Beach Lane, and intend to file a lawsuit to stop it.
Members of the town board, town trustees, and other “interveners” — those who signed up as interested parties — were in attendance.
Ørsted/Eversource made it clear that Wainscott, for now, is its preferred landing site. An alternate in Montauk’s Hither Hills has drawn the ire of the business community because the plan involves digging up Montauk Highway and Amagansett’s Main Street, and a third site east of the current Hither Hills location has yet to be identified publicly. The next hearing, scheduled for later this month, will hold discussion on